California Psychological Inventory


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Note: This test review was done by BPS on 13th November 2008

Description of the Test

The CPI aims to give ‘a description of personality which is relevant to the prediction and understanding of interpersonal behaviour in any setting, culture or circumstance’ (Gough & Cook, 1994). It produces a description in terms of ‘folk concepts’, which the author identifies as variables that people tend to use as part of daily life to describe personality and explain behaviour. For the 462-item version (British and American editions), respondents answer ‘true’ or ‘false’ to statements, and scores are produced in terms of 20 scales against either male or female norms on separate profile sheets. The scales marked with an asterisk below have been extracted to form the 309-item version, which is intended for occupational testing in industry and which at the time of review was unpublished. The scales are as follows: Dominance*, Capacity for status, Sociability, Social presence*, Self-acceptance, Independence, Empathy*, Responsibility, Socialisation*, Self-control*, Good impression*, Communality, Well being, Tolerance*, Achievement via conformance*, Achievement via independence*, Intellectual efficiency, Psychological mindedness Flexibility*, and Femininity/masculinity. These 20 scales are now contained in the 434-item version. In addition to the 20 folk concept scales, three further vector scales can be derived using the answer keys. The vector scales are believed to represent the key themes of the CPI scales. These scales are used to produce a description of where an individual lies in terms of types. The types are based on combinations of high or low levels of ‘Externality/Internality’ and ‘Norm doubting/Norm favouring’, giving four ‘type’ classifications, which can be expressed through various levels of a third scale, ‘Level of realisation’. This three-vector cuboid model forms the starting point for interpreting the 20 scales, which together make up the profile sheet. A further five ‘special scales and indices’ can be derived from the 462-item version: Managerial potential, Work orientation, Leadership potential index, Social maturity index, and the Creative potential Index. A new ‘Creative temperament’ scale replaces the old ‘Creative potential index’, and this new scale is included on the standard profile sheet for the 309-item version. The special scales in the 434-item version are Managerial Potential*; Work Orientation; Law Enforcement Orientation; Creative Temperament* and Time taken to complete a PhD degree. The scales marked * are included in the. 309-item version. The suppliers offer software as an alternative to hand scoring of the 462-item version. The software can be used either in-house or as a bureau service and offers two report options. The ‘CPI profile report’ presents scale scores graphically, along with a brief narrative interpretation. The ‘CPI narrative report’ gives additional interpretation of the main scale scores, including the Q-sort formulation of the respondent’s personality. The configural analysis report is no longer available. Note that the 434-item version replaced the 462-item version as the standard UK form as from I January 1995. Separate male/female profile sheets are no longer available. The main change is the omission of items referring to physical or mental health in order to conform to the American Disabilities Act (1990), along with items that may be hard to justify from, for example, an equal-opportunities perspective.

Author: Harrison Gough

Test Publisher: The Myers-Briggs Company

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